More Companies are Investing in Forest Carbon Offsets, but Sustainability Still an Issue
While many environmentalists were disappointed after the Copenhagen Accord , one positive development was a renewed focus on forestry. Over the past several months there has been a growing commitment from countries including the U.S., Norway, Britain, and Japan, to make significant financial contributions to forests, carbon offsets, and climate change.
The second annual Forest Carbon Offsetting Report , produced by EcoSecurities , Conservation International; The Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance ; the Norton Rose Group ; and ClimateBiz ; focuses on corporations' attitudes regarding forest offsets from forestry projects. The report found that 80 percent of respondents held positive opinions about forestry offset projects, up from 58 percent in 2009. The report gathered in-depth responses from more than 200 organizations worldwide.
Among the findings of the report:
Participants indicated the most important factor when purchasing forest carbon offsets are carbon standards, followed by project locations, community, and biodiversity benefits.
In Europe, 84 percent of participants say they have a positive attitude compared to only 36 percent in 2009.
Those most interested in forestry projects are voluntary offset buyers. Reforestation with native species and avoidance of deforestation were the most popular project type. Buyers of carbon forest carbon credits were the most concerned about a recognized standard, and the majority favored payment upon delivery of carbon offsets.
Michael Jenkins, president and CEO of Forest Trends --a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit--said in a May interview with Rhett A. Butler of Mongabay.com, that donors such as Norway, Britain, Germany, the U.S. have pledged close to $4 billion since Copenhagen. Jenkins believes that there will be “significant new finance for forest and broader land-use activity like sustainable agriculture that reduce carbon emissions.” Jenkins also said he feels the biggest obstacle to forests and other ecosystems is a lack of specific policies and regulations to drive the carbon market so that buyers of carbon offsets get what they pay for, and the payment goes to the proper producer of that service.